Former US Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage, told a delegation of 200 Vietnamese business leaders yesterday that the US government's strategic interests in Vietnam will mean more and better opportunities for bilateral business and trade relations.

Armitage delivered the keynote address at a half-day briefing organised by international trade law firm Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg PA (ST&R) and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which also featured a panel of US government officials, international trade experts, and economists.

Ambassador Ronald  Sorini, ST&R's president of trade negotiations and legislative affairs, drew attention to Vietnam's importance as a textile and apparel sourcing destination for major US retailers, despite the fact that imports from Vietnam continue to be subject to quotas.

Those quotas will be lifted once Vietnam joins the World Trade Organization, but Sorini warned that US textile makers will likely push for safeguard provisions similar to those in China's WTO accession agreement.